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Vitamin Seller Buys DrKoop Domain

At one time during the heyday of the Internet gold rush, DrKoop.com had a market capitalization of more than $1 billion. Now, its assets have been sold for $186,000.

The acquiring company is Boynton Beach, Fla.-based Vitacost.com, which describes itself as a "privately held, online source of consumer health information and high-quality health products and nutraceuticals."

Vitacost, which markets its Neutraceutical Sciences line of vitamins, said it acquired DrKoop.com's assets, which included the brand name, trademarks, domain names, the Web site and the e-mail addresses of its registered users.

The company said that "no other personal information -- names, phone numbers, health information or purchase histories -- was transferred, and users were given the option to remove themselves from the database in advance of the sale.

Founded in 1997, DrKoop.com filed for bankruptcy in December of 2001.

The Web site has remained operational, although drkoop.com Inc. last August changed its focus from an Internet pure play to a "a diversified health and wellness company."

The troubled Santa Monica, Calif.-based company, named for C. Everett Koop, the former Surgeon General of the U.S., had been delisted from Nasdaq. The company said in August of last year that it had acquired the operating assets of Detroit-based home care provider IVonyx Group Services Inc. and was changing its name to Dr. Koop LifeCare Corp. But it was too little, too late.

Vitacost said the old DrKoop.com site currently attracts more than 900,000 visitors per month and has a database of more than 2 million registered users. However, it is not being updated; the lead story on the site was published in December of last year.

Vitacost.com said it will update information pertaining to mainstream medicine and add information about natural and alternative medicines, updating content daily after a planned relaunch.

"We intend to build on the trust people hold for DrKoop.com by making it a single source for scientifically sound information about all aspects of medicine," said Allen S. Josephs, president of Vitacost.com.